Locke: of Government

Second Treatise of Government, John Locke, 2017 Sichuan People Press, 173 pages.

This book is a political essay by John Locke, the famous British philosopher which influenced Voltaire, Rousseau and many others. His main points in this not very long book are:

  1. Men are born free and equal, and originally in a state of nature where everyone could use all his forces to defend his interests (property, liberty, off-spring, etc.);
  2. To defend himself he is often in a state of war with others, thus the freedom he was enjoying in the state of nature is very fragile;
  3. In order to better defend himself he enters into a community/society and gives up his right to defend himself to the society/government which main purpose should be to protect its members property/peace/interests;
  4. The government should be based on law, that even the king/head can’t breach.  Only the elected (by the people) legislature which meets regularly can make the laws. The laws should be very clear and have the consent of its people;
  5. The makers of the laws and their execution should be separated bodies, can’t be unified in one body’s hands;
  6. The executor/head can be in permanent position (during a period of time) but shall not abuse his power. Once he places his owns interests on top of the interests of the people, he loses immediately his authority and needs to be replaced;
  7. Tyranny and government established by invasion ares not legitimate. Parents can protect their children when they’re young and vulnerable, but parents don’t have right on their children’s life.  And once they grow up and have their own reason, parents right on children ceases;
  8. Any government that is no longer placing its people as its core mission should be turned down.

This book was written in 1689, and you can still see its signature in US/Canada/EU governments system today. The principle is simple, any government needs to represent/protect/work for its own people, once it stops doing so, the head and main political heads need to go. They are managers, not shareholders.

The book is quite well written, easy to understand, and it’s a classical must. You can find free version of it almost everywhere: Amazon etc.

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